Three questions: Can we see accrued sick leave in Workday? What is the process for taking sick leave? What are the changes to the academic leave policy?

Date: January 2021


Dear Deans, 

I have read that, effective January 1st, 2021, any staff that receive a W-2 form must receive sick time accrual for their work which can be used as paid time off and that this policy includes graduate students. Can we see our accrued sick leave in Workday? What is the specific process to take this sick leave? And what are the changes to the academic leave policy for graduate students? 

Thank you!


Labor law lover

Dear “Labor Law Lover,”

Thank you for a great question! Assistantships have always included significant flexibility around time management. The Graduate School and individual supervisors have worked with our graduate students who are ill or need to take time away from their assistantship duties for illness or personal emergencies. The New York Paid Sick Leave benefit, effective January 1, 2021, doesn’t replace or supplant this flexibility, it provides a baseline for this paid time away for personal or family illness and emergencies. 

You may have seen the content below included in the December 21, 2020 edition of Graduate Announcements:

Paid Sick Leave for Students on Assistantships

Students on assistantship have historically had flexibility to take time away from their duties while sick, but a recently-passed NY state law and a corresponding Cornell policy provide graduate assistants with greater protections, effective January 1st, 2020.  

Interim Policy 6.9, Time Away from Work: Sick Leave (New York State) has been issued (within University Policy 6.9 Time Away From Work), and will offer additional benefits for graduate assistants who become ill or need other time off as provided by this leave time. 

Additional information on this policy will be shared via Announcements and in regular updates on the Paid Sick Leave webpage.

This information is also posted on the Graduate School’s website with a link that explains how to view accruals and request sick time.

The Graduate School will be updating University Policy 1.3 on Graduate Assistantships to reference the new Interim Policy 6.9. We’ll also be updating assistantship appointment letters beginning in May so assistants know about this benefit at the time they are offered an appointment in the future.  

The academic leave policy (Policy 6.2.1) was updated to include:

New York State Paid Sick Leave

All other paid (receive an IRS Form W-2 from the University) academic positions not otherwise covered under this policy are eligible for New York State Paid Leave as defined by University Policy 6.9, Time Away from Work: Sick Leave (New York State). 

Students who become ill and need extensive time away from their studies or assistantship can contact Student Disability Services or Senior Assistant Dean Janna Lamey to explore possibilities for medical/disability accommodation or a health leave. Both of those options include special protections and individualized supports for students until their health issues are resolved.



Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration